21
votes
4answers
14k views

What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?

I understand that historically there was a need for transposing instruments. e.g. Brass instruments would use lead pipes to change their key and players in brass bands would like to stick to the same ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do standard modern pianos have 88 keys?

I know that the piano contains 7 octaves plus a 4th. I also know that it accommodates the full circle of fifths (from C and back to C). But since a fifth contains 7 semitones, it only "needs" 7X12 = ...
14
votes
1answer
685 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Which strings should I use for DADGAD tuning on my acoustic guitar?

I have recently switched to DADGAD tuning, before that I was using light tension strings ( 12 16 24 32 42 53 ). But because of DADGAD, to compensate for the lack of tension on the neck, I wanted to ...
26
votes
7answers
17k views

Is there a standard width for piano keys?

Is there a standard width for piano keys? If not, how much variation is there? Do other keyboard instruments have significantly different widths of keys?
19
votes
3answers
23k views

What are the benefits of guitars with fanned frets?

I've seen fanned frets on some extended-ranged classical and electric guitars. What are the benefits of guitars with fanned frets? Are there any drawbacks?
14
votes
6answers
25k views

What are the ABRSM graded examinations, and why would one want to take them?

I have seen several questions here about the exams offered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the United Kingdom. Most questions are from the standpoint of people who are in the ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you know what beat to emphasize based on the time signature?

In learning the guitar I have run across various time signatures. In each time signature it seems as if you are supposed to emphasize different beats. Is this something that you just have to intuit, ...
8
votes
5answers
37k views

Is there a computer program to transcribe songs to sheet music? [closed]

Is there a computer program that I can use where I upload a favourite song and it'll transcribe it to sheet music for me? I'd like to play Running up That Hill by Placebo but I don't want to buy the ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I find the length in seconds of a quarter-note (crotchet) if I have a tempo marking?

Given a tempo marking in bpm (beats-per-minute), how can I work out the length of a crotchet (quarter-note) beat?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Removing human voice from songs

I have been trying so much to do this but to no avail. Some softwares like cooledit remove it to an extent but ruin other things in the music. Please suggest some good method for this.
26
votes
11answers
7k views

Coated Strings—Gimmick, or worth the money?

Never used them myself, but I had a friend who used to swear by the plastic-coated strings he bought for his electric to try and help keep them cleaner. While I realize this probably does do ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

Piano with two treble clefs and 8va on grand staff

How do you play the notes in the red square? On the upper staff, the lower chord is G but the note in the lower section is also G. Do you just ignore it?
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How to learn to play guitar with a slide ?

I have always wanted to play guitar with a slide. How should I go about learning this skill ? I am looking for tips, songs, exercises, etc. Thanks. p.s.: The "Slide" tag would have been useful ...
13
votes
2answers
7k views

Unknown Notation - Thick Horizontal Bars Between Notes

I haven't the faintest idea of what these could mean. Some sort of run perhaps? How do you effect the dynamics/notes these bars are referring to? EDIT: For reference, this specific example is ...
12
votes
2answers
894 views

How can I easily manage different tunings?

This is probably appropriate for a range of instruments, and I have seen mentioned in other questions that professional musicians can cope easily with transpositions, different instruments that play ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Four dots over tremolo minim (half note with slash)

I'm working on National Emblem by E. E. Bagley. In the second strain, there is a minim with the tremolo mark. Above it are four dots. What do they mean? Here is a picture. The mark in question is ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

What does an arc mean above the notes in a piano sheet music? How do I play it?

See the picture above. Is there a website where these (perhaps not so basic) notations are collected? UPDATE: I see Wikipedia has a nice collection of musical notations. How do I play the slur on ...
4
votes
2answers
619 views

A machine for automatic tremolo picking

Yesterday I was at God is an Astronaut live performance and was close to the scene. One of the guitarists (Gazz Carr) performed tremolo picking. But I noticed that on a few songs he used a small ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Instrument grade exams

How many grade exams are there for playing an instrument? I came to know that there are around 8 grades to qualify you as a professional guitar player. How are these grades decided and what is the ...
67
votes
8answers
2k views

Ten Minute Practice Techniques For Guitar?

Unfortunately I can't play everyday. However, I am trying to grab at least 5-10 minutes here and there. What are some good theory or scale techniques/practice methods I should have ready to pull out ...
33
votes
10answers
20k views

As a guitarist, how can I learn to sight-read music?

I'm learning guitar right now, mostly from Justin Sandercoe's free online lessons, starting from the beginner's course. He has a lot of good tips for how to practice and drill chords, and scales, but ...
27
votes
1answer
4k views

Beginning “adult” piano for musicians

My piano skills are the weakest part of my conducting/rehearsal technique, so I'd like to work on them essentially starting from scratch. I don't have the option of a piano teacher, so I'm looking for ...
26
votes
4answers
37k views

What's the difference between “modal music” and “tonal music”?

As the title says, what's the difference between "modal music" and "tonal music"? Is there also any other classification besides "modal music" and "tonal music"?
15
votes
5answers
38k views

How to identify the guitar chords of a song

What's the best technique to identify the guitar chords of a song? I know the basic chords and also how to get into the rhythm of a song! But I'll always be spending huge amount of time to identify ...
18
votes
4answers
718 views

Where can I get started with my improvisation?

I have been playing the alto saxophone for a while now. I have also improvised from time to time and have some theoretical and practical background on the instrument, harmony, scales, etc. I have ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

Examples of songs or phrases played in different temperaments

I've read about the fact that 12 tone equal temperament is a relatively recent phenomenon, and that historically, each key would have a different character due to the unequal temperament. I'm curious ...
20
votes
8answers
7k views

WHY do harmonics happen?

The answers to the question 'How do harmonics work?' were most interesting. OK, that's the HOW it happens. But WHY does it happen ? What is the physics here ? Why doesn't a guitar string vibrate ...
13
votes
3answers
42k views

Do distortion pedals work well with tube amps? Or should I use a tube screamer?

I have a Blackstar HT5 tube amp and I like to use a Boss DS1 with the clean channel for the heavy stuff (Zeppelin to Nirvana, these are very different I know). Is this considered a good idea, or ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Logical way to learn movable scales on guitar?

After learning the CAGED 'open string' scales, what scales to do next? In what order or what way? When I learn a new scale, it seems to have the effect of displacing my ability to play other scales ...
44
votes
6answers
8k views

What does a conductor actually do?

Looking for the roles of the conductor during a musical performance, I mainly came across answers as the following, taken from Wikipedia: "The primary duties of the conductor are to unify ...
36
votes
16answers
40k views

What instruments are inexpensive, portable and not too loud?

I'm a college student, and I'd really like to start playing an instrument. But I want to find something that is: Inexpensive Small / portable in a backpack Quiet enough to practice in my dorm room ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is IV-iv-I an effective chord sequence in a major key?

An example of this is the song Nobody Home by Pink Floyd. The last line of the intro is, in a C major key: F Fm C % I think this sounds great, and in fact I often use such passages when ...
13
votes
2answers
631 views

What is the theory behind scales?

My question is the following: Scales are The backbone of quite everything in western music. Does anybody know if there is some sort of backbone behind scales? A number, something like that? Or do some ...
52
votes
20answers
31k views

Changing the strings: one by one, or by taking all strings off at one time?

The title says it all. Should I change strings one by one, or take them all at once? Does this matter at all? If I take all strings off, will it damage my neck in any way, because the pressure is ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

When is a piece in A minor versus C major?

When would you say a piece, or a movement in a symphony, is in A minor versus C major? They both use the same notes on the scale... what would indicate that the piece is in A minor? Let's take an ...
16
votes
7answers
12k views

What determines a chord's name?

I have very little knowledge of music theory (enough to know what's the major scale and how to find the major chord of a note) but I know a good number of chords by name and could figure out the ones ...
14
votes
6answers
11k views

Electronic drums in apartment

I'm a drummer and recently moved into an apartment with high ceilings and hardwood floors. I have a Roland TD-4. I've been researching for ways to be able to practice quietly without disturbing my ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a string skipping exercise?

What is a string skipping exercise? I've heard about this exercise a lot, including on this website. What is it? What skills does it develop? Can you give an example?
17
votes
8answers
20k views

What exercises can I do to improve my timing?

I recently made a recording consisting of overdubs in GarageBand. Playing it back, I was horrified to hear that while I felt as if I was in the groove while recording, I had actually been wildly ...
26
votes
11answers
25k views

Can anyone learn to sing higher?

So, I sing to myself a lot, and one thing that really frustrates me is that I cannot even reliably hit a middle C. (I'm male.) This is basically unacceptable to me even for ordinary shower-singing. ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there any MIDI extensions that allow quarter tones?

It'd be nice to be able to use MIDI for more diverse music than just that based on western scales. Are there any MIDI extensions that support quater tones, or other sub-semi-tone pitch divisions? I ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

When tuning a guitar, how should I strike the strings?

When tuning a guitar, what is the best way to strike a string to get it as close to pitch as possible? I'd like to get it as close to the right pitch as I possibly can. I've noticed with my tuner ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it possible to create the illusion of a sub-harmonic?

The way I understand it, a normal plucked tone consists of a great many overtones in addition to the base tone. A pinched harmonic, however, shifts the base tone higher into the overtone series by ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

Learn piano one hand at a time or simultaneously?

I've started to teach myself how to play the piano, and one of the difficulties I've found is trying to get both hands to do things at once. I either forget one hand entirely, or have one hand trying ...
10
votes
2answers
11k views

How should I go about choosing a beginner drum kit?

I'm thinking about getting a beginner drum kit, and am hesitant to make the jump for fear of either buying a lemon or not being as interested as I'd have hoped. Things to consider: 24 years old ...
9
votes
11answers
2k views

How do you tune your guitar?

I'd like to hear about the different techniques of tuning a guitar with standard tuning, and why you use them.
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are four-chord songs (I-V-vi-IV) so prevalent?

Over time, many musicians have experimented with various chord progressions, but none has stood the test of time as the four-chord song. What is it about this progression (and its variations) that ...
6
votes
3answers
15k views

Should I mute “unwanted” strings or not when playing power chords?

I've been playing guitar for a while but haven't yet actually learned to play any songs featuring hard power chords. Now I'm trying to learn some songs by Metallica and AC/DC, and I don't have to tell ...

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